Cell Tower 'Smog' Can Affect Mood and Behavior
Sydney Morning Herald | November 30 2005By Julie Robotham
ELECTROMAGNETIC "smog" from mobile phone networks and whitegoods could affect mood and behaviour, a psychiatrist says.
Michael Berk, of the University of Melbourne, has found a link between the suicide rate and increases geomagnetic storms, triggered by solar flares.
Professor Berk, who treats patients with bipolar disorder, analysed suicides in Australia from 1968 to 2000 and matched them to data on solar flares.
In most years there was a small but significant increase in the suicide rate among women on the day of a solar flare and up to two days later. The study was a "natural experiment", he said, because it allowed scientists to objectively analyse an increase in exposure.
The finding meant it was feasible that electrical and communications equipment could affect mood, Professor Berk said, though not inevitably for the worse.
John McGrath, professor of psychiatry at the University of Queensland, said the finding was important but it was hard to know how magnetism might biologically affect suicidal behaviour.
Last modified December 1, 2005